PAPA update to the welfare of working animals.

Related image

As the leading proponent for animal welfare and the society for the prevention of cruelty towards animals in South Africa, the SPCA enforces and upholds the current legislation that demands all animals are to be treated humanely and receive the necessary care required to prevent undue suffering and cruelty. The SPCA does not stand opposed to working animals subject to welfare standards being met.

Despite the fact that working animals provide such valuable services, they are not always cared for in an acceptable manner. For working animals, particularly in the film and security industries, it is of vital importance that their health and welfare is strictly monitored and legislation adhered to at all times. These laws will extend to all animals, both wild and domesticated (including birds and reptiles), that are held in captivity and fall under human control.

Working animals have been the focus of a major amendment to the Performing Animals Protection Act [Act 24 of 1935] (PAPA) which was implemented in July 2018- now called the Performing Animals Protection Amendment Act 4/2016. As it stands the licencing of performing animals is now the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and no longer falls under the Department of Justice. Government has attested its commitment to animal welfare within the related industries including: filming, educational, awareness exhibitions, entertainment, petting and security.

Animal welfare monitoring can now be included as part of PAPA licensing conditions. This responsibility has since been delegated to provincial state veterinarians (SV) who may issue PAPA licences. The licencing approval process will now include a veterinary procedural notice which will form the basis for a licence approval inspection including the following checks: animal health; feed and water; shelter; water points; storage and waste disposal; veterinary checks bi-annually; associated records and registers; animal training methods; transportation and the monitoring of animals being used in the filming industry. Training of working animals should be undertaken in a recognised humane manner without using physical violence or force to achieve results. Furthermore any equipment used on the animals should be purpose designed, free of any harmful features, well fitted and maintained and allow the animal to perform comfortably to their full potential.

It is an offence in terms of PAPA to use any animal without a PAPA licence – this includes the person in control of the animal as well as the person(s) who enlisted the services of the animal. Non-compliance can result in an on the spot fine. The PAPA authorises that the licence must be presented to a police office or an animal welfare inspector authorised as a police officer in terms of Section 8 of the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962 on request. The PAPA authorises any police officer the right to enter and inspect any place with performing animals.